Cold temps destroy asparagus, threaten other crops

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Chilly temperatures in Michigan this week threatened or destroyed some crops and sensitive outdoor plants at homes.

Temperatures dipped into the high 20s early Tuesday in the Traverse City area. The Traverse City Record-Eagle notes that fruit tree blossoms are safe above the freezing mark, but they can be jeopardized when the temperature dips too far below that level.

Mark Morrison at Morrison Farms in Williamsburg says he expects the cold spring weather will affect sweet cherries the most at the 100-acre apple and cherry orchard.

WHTC reports that freezes destroyed about 2 million pounds of asparagus in Oceana County, where Storm Team 8 says temperatures reached the low-mid 20s early Monday and Tuesday.

Michigan produces about 20 million pounds of asparagus each year — the second most of any state, according to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board — and WHTC reports 65 percent of that comes from Oceana County.

The National Weather Service issued an early Tuesday freeze warning for 18 counties in West Michigan, including Kent, Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Ionia, Barry and Kalamazoo counties. The warning also extended to southeastern Michigan and the state’s Thumb region.

West Michigan growers also took precautions overnight Monday to abate the danger of frost.

Overnight temperatures are expected to be warmer later in the week.